Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jayhawks Prevail Over Former Coach (Again)

Anyone who knows me knows this weekend was about as good as it gets from a basketball perspective for me.  The other two bloggers on this site happen to be UNC fans, yeah I know – I am not sure why or how, but I happen to be a big Kansas fan and yesterday my Jayhawks whooped the Tarheels.  To give you a little background, in case you don’t know, Roy Williams was the coach of Kansas until 2003 where he left to go coach UNC.  Well to say us Jayhawk fans were upset would be an understatement, we are in the top 3 winningest program in the country, so we don’t consider our program to be a stepping stone for anyone.  But then maybe the best thing could have happened; Kansas hired an up and coming star in Coach Bill Self.  In their very first matchup against each other, Coach Self and Former Coach Roy Williams matched up in the Final Four in 2008, Kansas ended up winning that (this will become a pattern) en route to a Championship that year.

This brings us to this past weekend where those same two coaches matched up again, only one player remains from that original match up, former walk-on redshirt senior Connor Teahan.  The first half was like a great boxing match, Kansas would go on a quick strike for 6 unanswered points, then UNC would answer back with a 8-0 run of their own.  The first half was played at such a high level, it was no wonder there were so many NBA scouts in attendance.  After 20 minutes, they were knotted up at 47 all.

Surprisingly I was confident going into the half tied up, because I was extremely happy with the offense I saw the Jayhawks display and I knew Kansas would start to clamp down on defense (something I felt UNC couldn’t do).  Well, this didn’t happen soon enough for me as both teams continued to exchange little 4 or 6 point runs and the score stayed even for much of the second half.  But then, Coach Self went back to their rarely used Triangle and Two defense, the same one that eventually slowed down Robbie Hummel and Purdue in the round of 32.

Once this defense was installed, UNC had no answer.  Kansas collapsed into to the paint, allowing no penetration or scoring by the Tar Heel big men.  UNC then settled for 3 pointers (11% for the game) and mid range jump shots (22% in 2nd half) and Kansas finished the game on a 13-0 run.  Even though I almost had a heart attack, that Kansas defense finally showed up.

This Kansas team is led by All American Thomas Robinson and streaky point guard Tyshawn Taylor and those two were the reasons that Kansas is moving on to the Big Easy for a chance to cut down the nets once again.  Robinson had a typical T-Rob day, with 18 points and 9 rebounds, while TT had 22 points.  No one would have expected this at the beginning of the season when the Jayhawks only returned one starter and depended heavily on a guy who only played 14 minutes a game last year.  Everyone else barely even cracked the rotation last year.  Bill Self probably said it best after the game, “This would have been a year, if we got to the second weekend (of the tournament), most Kansas fans would be happy. But that's not how those guys think.  They think this is their year, and I'm certainly not going to tell them anything different.” 

Now my Jayhawks are only 2 wins away from doing the improbable.  It will be a very tough road as they have to go through Ohio State, who just dismantled a very good Syracuse squad and likely a Kentucky team that may have 7 pros on its team.  But, this is March so anything could happen, who would have expected them to get this far.  Why not us?


Anonymous said...


Good luck to you and Paul Pierce with Kansas. However,I'll be rooting for Kentucky or Lousville because of their UMass connections.

I never met Rick Pitino but he was a fraternity brother (Lambda Chi Alpha) of mine at UMass. He arrived at UMass in 1970 as I was finishing grad school and moving to Fort Devens. He played point guard on the same team as Julius Erving.

John Calipari (another point guard) coached UMass to the Final Four in the 90's. Although this was later vacated, Calipari was not personally implicated.

Hope they're good games. Should be fun.

Don't forget the Frozen Four the following weekend. Hope BC can do it again.


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